1. Revelation 13:11 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What function does this second beast serve?

Revelation 13:11 (ESV)

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

The first action ascribed to this beast is speaking. On the basis of its speaking/word, this beast accomplishes things. This points us in the direction of effective communication. In subsequent chapters of his Revelation, John refers to this beast as the “false prophet” (Revelation 16:13; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10). It is striking that in Revelation 13:1–18 this designation is not (yet) given to this beast. It is enough for us at this stage to connect this beast to communication, propaganda, persuasive messaging. We might say this beast is the public relations minister of the first beast, using winning and beguiling words to advance the power and authority of the first beast. Behind words, of course, lies a worldview, an “ism.” Preaching communism or socialism or capitalism or salvation by works or Islam or evolution are all means in this beast’s toolbox to convince earth’s inhabitants to seek deliverance from life’s problems in the dragon, in people (via institutions of government or medicine or technology)—anywhere but in God the Lord. This beast, then, has received many manifestations over the years of human history.